A “Dancing With the Stars” alum shared new details about his emotional reunion with his biological father after not seeing him for more than four decades. In a November 2023 interview, Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean opened up about his emotional meetup with his father, Bob McLean.
McLean competed on DWTS season 29 with pro partner Cheryl Burke, in 2020. He revealed that reuniting with his father helped him to reconcile traumas from his past.
Here’s what you need to know:
AJ McLean Went to See His Father After Undergoing an Intensive Therapy Program
McLean, 45, has been vocal about his struggles with addiction. He has been sober for two years. In November 2023, he told Page Six he reunited with his father after undergoing a 10-week outpatient therapy program. The “intensive” program took place because McLean wanted to “get to the root” of his mental health issues.
He added that therapy inspired him to see his father, whom he had not seen since his parents divorced when he was three. While the “I Want It That Way” singer noted he had been communicating with his dad “here and there via text message,” he pitched the idea of an in-person meetup.
McLean said he told his dad: “Hey, why don’t we have a little sit-down? I would love to pick your brain. I was told one thing from my mom and my uncle and my other family about how you were.”
McLean explained that he wanted to hear about his father “from the horse’s mouth” and make his “own decisions” about their relationship.
AJ McLean Posed With His Dad in September 2023
In September 2023, McLean shared two photos from his reunion with his dad. In a post shared on his Instagram page, the DWTS alum sat beside his father on a couch. The second photo showed them standing side by side, both wearing baseball caps. In the caption, McLean revealed he blamed himself for his parents’ divorce for decades.
“I never knew my father in any way, except what I was told from the rest of my family,” McLean wrote. “My dad would show up at one show or another but I never wanted to see him or speak to him. Tonight was the first time in 42 years that my father and I sat down as two grown men and had a conversation about life, my life, his life, and life in general.”
McLean came away with newfound information about his dad. He found out his birthday and the fact that he was also a musician. He also now knows that his parents’ divorce was not his fault.
“Today is the beginning of a new chapter in my life with my father again only 1 foot in front of the other,” he wrote. “Thank your dad for taking the time to sit down with your son and see me for who I am.”
His relationship with his own dad influenced how he approached fatherhood. McLean always made it a priority to be a good father to his kids, Elliot, 10, and Lyric, 6. “Even in my dark times, the one thing I’ve always been good at is being a father,” he told Us Weekly in September 2023. “I never wanted to be a bad father.”